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Western Australia willing to supply natural gas to India

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INTERACTION: K.M. Mammen, president, Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce (right), with Alan Carpenter, Premier of Western Australia (left), at a meeting in Chennai on Monday. C. Sarat Chandran, director, Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce (centre), is also in the picture. Photo: S. S. Kumar
INTERACTION: K.M. Mammen, president, Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce (right), with Alan Carpenter, Premier of Western Australia (left), at a meeting in Chennai on Monday. C. Sarat Chandran, director, Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce (centre), is also in the picture. Photo: S. S. Kumar

Staff Reporter

Premier will hold talks with Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas

CHENNAI: Western Australia is keen on supplying natural gas to India's energy hungry economy. "There's a natural fit between what India needs and what Western Australia has to offer," Western Australia Premier Alan Carpenter said at his meeting with the Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

Later this week, Mr. Carpenter will meet Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dinsha Patel to discuss India's interest in purchasing LNG from Western Australia. About 80 per cent of Australia's large gas reserves are located offshore from Western Australia.

"This is one of the few places in the world where natural gas production is expanding," Mr. Carpenter said.

With a number of multi-billion dollar LNG projects being lined up for government approval, production was set to triple to 50 million tonnes a year over the next 15 years. "Our LNG is a very clean gas," said Mr Carpenter, explaining how a geo-sequestration process was used to safeguard against global warming by burying carbon dioxide back into the ground.

Simon Johnson, regional director, Western Australia Trade Office in India, said individual Australian gas firms would negotiate contracts with Indian customers. However, the meeting with Mr. Patel would be key to revealing the intentions of the Indian Government.

The Premier arrived in Chennai after a visit to Coimbatore. "I understand Tamil Nadu has a very strong economy," he said, explaining why this is the only State where he is visiting two cities. During his first stop in Mumbai, he held talks with several corporate majors, including the Tata, Birla and Shapoorji Pallonji groups, on their investments and partnerships with Western Australia.

Mr. Carpenter will also meet officials from the Ministry of Mines in New Delhi to explore ways to expand trade in minerals, metals and diamonds.

Expanding trade

However, the Premier felt that the way to expand the bilateral trade from its Aus $4 billion is to shift the focus beyond resources and commodities to services and expertise. He highlighted infrastructure, education, information technology, biotechnology, agricultural research and tourism as potential areas for future collaboration. "We need to lobby and negotiate for direct flights between India and Western Australia," said Mr. Carpenter. Tourism and business linkages would be easier if airline passengers did not have to stop over in Singapore, he said.

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